How do I create the texture of the clouds in Illustrator?

Or is there a set of brushes that could give a similar effect someone can point me to?


(source: virbcdn.com)

(Images from samkalda.com)

  • 2
    What have you tried? What failed?
    – Luciano
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 15:24

2 Answers 2


There's no flood of answers because there's no perfect way to make those clouds in Illustrator. Grainy textures are much easier in Photoshop.

One possibility is to create a cloud in Photoshop and import a raster image to Illustrator, or to create a bigger piece and define the shapes and sizes in Illustrator with clipping masks. The result might be acceptable if the resolution of the pasted raster image is good enough for your intended purpose. You lose the lossless scalability of vector images, but you can get a job done.

In Illustrator grainy textures are often made by painting with a brush which scatters small objects randomly and by inserting an opacity mask, if needed. Here's an example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwNInJssbPU

This can cuase a low spec computer to slow down dramatically because the brush can very quickly generate tens of thousands of objects.

Some other vector drawing programs, e.g. Affinity Designer have avoided this by allowing noisy colors, the grain is a part of the color, it's processed in the graphics card engine, not in the application. In your case one could use noisy gradients. Unfortunately Illustrator doesn't have noisy colors which could be used in gradients.

If you can sacrifice lossless scalability, you can also make raster image patterns in Illustrator. There's no need to create them in Photoshop. Here's one method:

enter image description here

  1. A shape is drawn, no stroke, solid grey fill

  2. A copy of shape 1 has a raster effect applied: Texture > Grain > Stippled, intensity=100%, contrast=50%

NOTE: you must define the raster effect rendering resolution at the beginning when you start a new image. It can be changed afterwards, e.g. by copying and pasting everything to a new Illustrator document which has a different raster image rendering resolution. In this case I selected 150 DPI which provided sufficient grain size.

  1. Another copy of shape 1 has a vertical gradient fill. The color is white, but it's fully opaque at the bottom and fully transparent on the top.

  2. Shape 2 is placed on a copy of shape 3, aligned and defined as the opacity mask

  3. Shape 3 is placed on the result of 4

This is quite complex and not exactly a copy of your example cloud, but it is made in Illustrator.


Another way to do it is...

Draw some black scatter brushes.

Be sure to group the brushes and select the brushes and the cloud.

Make an Opacity Mask.

Paint with a white brush to soften the edges.

See the image below:

enter image description here

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